johnnnniee (3816) - Bedford, New Hampshire, USA - NOV 25, 2011
3.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours a deep dark copper color that borders on brown with a decent sized fluffy white head that slowly recedes to a cap with moderate lace. Smells of hops and malt. No really. Citrus in the form of grapefruit and lemon bits of pine, with bready caramel malt backing it up. Taste is more caramel than hops, but still remains tasty. Medium body and carbonation level with a slick mouthfeel. I enjoyed this one, its probably the best I’ve pulled from the mixed 12 pack so far. There are better IPA’s out there, but this one is still tasty.
beerbill (3605) - Laurel, New York, USA - NOV 19, 2011
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
12 oz. bottle. Pours a pretty, nearly clear red with a moderate off-white head that lasted until mid-glass and left partial lace. Pleasant aroma of malt with a hint of caramel and some mild citrus. Reading the description, I would have expected more hops aroma given the three varieties named above. The flavor is malt with a bit of a crackery quality followed by some moderate hops bitterness that are mostly flavorless, just bitter. Again surprising given the hops varieties listed by the brewer. Medium bodied. Not a bad beer at all, just a bit timid for an IPA, even an East Coast one.
robgibbens (431) - Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA - NOV 11, 2011
2.3 AROMA 3/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 8/20
Dark copper/amber color with a short head. Some lacing present. Malty and buttery diacetyl aroma. Mild bitterness with some maltiness underneath. Finishes clean.
rocbyter (2079) - Waterbury, Connecticut, USA - NOV 11, 2011
3.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Sweet fresh hop aroma. Light orange color with a big airy white head. Sweet beginning that fades in the finish.
jb43 (1650) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - SEP 12, 2011
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
(bottle 2/4/11). Copper color, with light cloudiness. Medium off white head. Moderate pine aroma, with light citrus and malt. Flavor of the same, with light bitterness. Avg duration. Light bitter and dry finish. Slick texture. Moderate to high carbonation. Good lacing.
Ron (3609) - Rochester, New York, USA - AUG 13, 2011
2.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
Last night I found I still had this one in my beer cellar from the var. pack I bought awhile back. Pours amber with an off white head. Sweet caramel malty aroma with floral hops. The flavor has earthy and floral hops with sweet toffee like malty notes. A little harsh in the finish for me.
ChadPolenz (1700) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - JUL 16, 2011
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
India Pale Ales and Brown Ales are probably my two favorite types of beers, but what happens when you make a hybrid of the two styles? Apparently you get Saranac India Brown Ale – a beer with the strong, hoppy, bitter quality of an IPA with the smoothness of a brown ale.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
Saranac IBA pours very smoothly and forms a beautiful dark red, slightly copper-colored, crystal-clear body with very little carbonation present. It has a small, white, fizzy head which dissolves quickly, but never completely and leaves constant lacing on the glass – something I’ve never seen before.
The aroma is similar to an IPA with a distinct hop signature, but without the citrusy notes present. Some malty scents are noticeable, but only faintly so. Otherwise the beer’s smell is subdued.
There’s just nothing quite like the experience of drinking a beer and having the flavor give your palate a punch. Saranac India Brown Ale does that with its strong hop character which makes for quite a bitter taste, not unlike an IPA. The difference here is there isn’t much, if any, citrus qualities to the taste.
The beer has only the slightest roasted taste, but not nearly as strong as a typical brown ale. Basically, it’s an Extra Special Bitter but without the dryness. The overall flavor is strong, hoppy and bitter and just the slightest bit dry, but it all adds up to a very enjoyable taste.
Strongly-hopped beers like this have a reputation for being difficult to drink, yet Saranac IBA is quite smooth. Although it’s very similar in taste to an IPA or an ESB, it finishes as smooth as a brown ale so lightweights have to reason to complain abut the finish.
More hops usually equals more alcohol and Saranac IBA is no exception. At 6% ABV it’s pretty potent for a medium-market beer, even if it is of a niche style. I didn’t find the beer to be too overwhelming but I could definitely tell it was potent before I looked it up.
The body is somewhere between heavy and medium. You won’t be able to just breeze through two of these back-to-back as if it were nothing. But because the taste is so good, this is a beer you’ll want to savor anyway.
If I read the label on the bottle right, it seems that Saranac intended for this beer to be an IPA/brown ale hybrid. I would have preferred a darker, roastier flavor, but because it follows the style of an IPA so well, it’s still a good beer worthy of recommendation.
Foxbush (1832) - Richmond, Virginia, USA - MAR 13, 2011
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 11/20
This was the second ale tasted at a party for an expectant father. The copper colored ale had some cloudiness and lacing. The IPA had some bitterness from the cascade hops. There just was nothing special. It was a good ale for the occasion with a smooth finish
ngeunit1 (1555) - Waltham, Massachusetts, USA - MAR 10, 2011
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
A - Pours a slightly hazy amber-red color with a nice two fingers of creamy off-white head. Head has pretty decent retention and has pretty okay lacing.
S - The aroma is a mild mix of toffee malt, grassy/floral hop, and fruity/citrusy sweetness. There is also just a touch of brown sugar. Overall, a little weak.
T - The taste kicks off with the carmel malt taste with some hop bitterness apparent right at the start. These flavors both build and eventually some citrus flavor, mostly lemon, come in to blend them a bit. The finish has more of the hop flavor, but a bit less bitter, with some hop flavor lingering. A bit unbalanced at times, with the malt, fruit, and hop combination.
M - Medium bodied with a moderate amount of fizzy carbonation. The carbonation keeps it very crisp without it being too watery. There is also a creaminess to it. The finish is also fairly dry which is nice.
D - Overall pretty drinkable. The mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing. The only downside is that the flavors are just a bit unbalanced overall, but the hops right off the bat and the finish is nice.
Snojerk321 (2960) - San Diego, California, USA - MAR 9, 2011
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
12oz bottle. Pours a cloudy deep copper color with a creamy off white head that left behind some nice lacing. Nose holds cereal grain, caramel malts with some floral and grassy hops. Light - medium hop bitterness in the finish.